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Dental Bridge – Benefits | Types | Process | Care

Dental Bridge – Benefits | Types | Process | Care

A dental bridge, as the name implies bridges the gap between one or more missing teeth. It is a common, affordable, time-tested, and low-risk treatment for missing teeth.

A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap – these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutments and a false tooth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and are made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.

What are some of the benefits of a dental bridge?

  • It helps in restoring your smile.
  • Restores the ability to chew and speak properly.
  • Maintains the shape of your face.
  • Evenly distributes the force in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth.
  • Prevents remaining teeth from drifting out of position.

The different types of dental bridges are:

  • Traditional bridge: It involves creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. This is generally used when you have natural teeth on both sides of the gap created by the missing teeth. The downside of traditional bridges is that your dentist will need to prepare the adjacent teeth by removing their enamel to make room for the crown that will be cemented on the top. Since enamel does not grow back, these teeth will always need to be protected with crowns, even if you later choose a different type of bridge.
  • Maryland bonded bridge: These are also called resin-bonded bridge. It is made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.
  • Cantilever bridge: They are very similar to traditional bridges, but the pontic is supported by an abutment on only one side, rather than on both the sides. So, if there is only one natural tooth next to a gap, a bridge can still be secured. Just like the traditional bridge, your dentist will need to prepare the adjacent tooth by removing the enamel to support the bridge.
  • Implant-supported bridge: This is used when more than one tooth is missing. Instead of being supported by the crown or frameworks, these bridges are supported by dental implants. Normally, one implant is placed for every missing tooth, and this series of implants hold the bridge in place. However, the bridge may consist of a pontic suspended between two implant-supported crowns if placing one implant for every tooth isn’t possible. Since these bridges are secured implants, they feel very secure and comfortable. One downside for this surgery is that you will be needing two surgeries. One for the implant and second to place the bridge and due to this the procedure takes five to six months to complete.

What is the process of getting a dental bridge?

  • During the initial visit, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as the model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and the gums while the bridge is being prepared.
  • In the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit.
  • Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting properly.
  • After a couple of weeks, the bridge is cemented in